Andrew Tridgell delivered the first linux.conf.au keynote on Thursday
morning. The bulk of the talk covered software engineering techniques and
how the free software community is taking a leading role in adopting those
techniques. It was a good talk, and your editor will attempt to write it
up later on.
At the end, however, Tridge touched on his role in the separation of the kernel
project and BitKeeper. He couldn't talk about much, and he did not
announce the release of his BitKeeper client. But he noted that there has
been quite a bit of confusion and misinformation regarding what he actually
did. It was not, he says, an act of wizardly reverse engineering. Getting
a handle on the BitKeeper network protocol turned out to be rather easier
He started by noting that a BitKeeper repository has an identifier like
bk://thunk.org:5000/. So, he asked, what happens if you connect
to the BitKeeper server port using telnet? A quick demonstration sufficed:
telnet thunk.org 5000
Connected to thunk.org.
Escape character is '^]'.
Once connected, why not type a command at it?
? - print this help
abort - abort resolve
check - check repository
clone - clone the current repository
help - print this help
httpget - http get command
Tridge noted that this sort of output made the "reverse engineering"
process rather easier. What, he wondered, was the help command there for?
Did the BitKeeper client occasionally get confused and have to ask for
Anyway, given that output, Tridge concluded that perhaps the clone
command could be utilized to obtain a clone of a repository. Sure enough,
it returned a large volume of output. Even better, that output was a
simple series of SCCS files. At that point, the "reverse engineering" task
is essentially complete. There was not a whole lot to it.
Now we know about the work which brought about an end to the BitKeeper
to post comments)